Ray Bourbon’s Last Months at the Brownwood County Jail

Ray Bourbon was convicted on February 21, 1970 of Accomplice to Murder with Malice in the case of the Crain and Chrisco killing of kennel owner A.D. Blount.  He was 77 years old. Ray was sentenced to 99 years in jail due to his advanced age and health, bringing to a close a saga that … Continue reading Ray Bourbon’s Last Months at the Brownwood County Jail

“Speaking of Hams” – Another Possible Book by Ray

Some time ago, while searching for one of the aliases in Ray Bourbon's FBI file - Richard Fabien Mann - I discovered that Ray had published a novel, Hookers, in 1932. There was a listing for it in the Library of Congress copyright entries, showing Ray as the actual author, and a Variety article from … Continue reading “Speaking of Hams” – Another Possible Book by Ray

Did Ray Perform a Fire Dance at the Opening of the Los Angeles Coliseum?

One of the more unusual credits hawked by Ray that always seemed odd - and implausible - to me was included in photographer and filmmaker Avery Willard’s 1971 book, Female Impersonation.  According to Willard, Ray, billed as “Ramon Icarez”, performed a fire dance at the opening of the Los Angeles Coliseum. The four-age bio in … Continue reading Did Ray Perform a Fire Dance at the Opening of the Los Angeles Coliseum?

Have a Drink With Ray at Auby’s Lagoon and the Rendezvous

From late 1934 through the summer of 1935, Ray was a fixture at Auby’s Lagoon, a nightclub in Miami Beach, Florida.  In the Miami Tribune, I found dozens of ads and mentions in columns about area nightlife of Ray acting as an MC and performer at the club during that period. One column, from the … Continue reading Have a Drink With Ray at Auby’s Lagoon and the Rendezvous

Performance Venues Page Updated

In the Researc Materials section of the Rae Bourbon website, I have a page listing the various venues where Ray performed. I've just updated the page listing all of the performances, year by year, by Ray that I've been able to document so far, based on newspaper and magazine ads, reviews, and articles.  The material … Continue reading Performance Venues Page Updated

The Story of Ray’s “Sex Change”

Despite a career on stage that spanned fifty years (and thirty years of recordings), Ray is probably most infamous for his 1950s "sex change" hoax.  The main artifact of it today is his outrageously titled album, Let Me Tell You About My Operation and the funny title track where Ray sings, "There's been a change in … Continue reading The Story of Ray’s “Sex Change”

The Mystery of Ray’s Son and Possible Wife

One of the most frustrating aspects of researching Ray’s life has been establishing some identity for his wife and son and tracking down what might have happened to them. As an icon of gay nightclubs, you might not think that Ray was married.  However, Ray’s friends, and even Ray himself, said that he was bisexual, … Continue reading The Mystery of Ray’s Son and Possible Wife

Seeking 1957 WFAA “Transvestite” TV Program

I’m looking for a local tv program from 1957 and would appreciate any leads on where it might be located and some contacts.  While not containing an appearance by Ray, it is significant for looking at public perceptions of gender identity and cross-dressing in Ray's home state around the time that Ray was getting arrested … Continue reading Seeking 1957 WFAA “Transvestite” TV Program

Restoring Ray Bourbon’s Recorded Legacy: An Update

In the 1990s, when I first began researching Ray’s life and work, I got copies of most of his recordings from various collectors, mostly on cassette tape.  I also dubbed all of his lp recordings to digital.  These were briefly released on cd through a “print on demand” service.  When that service folded, I offered … Continue reading Restoring Ray Bourbon’s Recorded Legacy: An Update

Research on Ray, Summer 2019

Research on Ray has been an ongoing process over the past twenty-five years, sometimes with fits and starts and often with long periods where nothing turns up. Here’s an overview of what I’m currently researching about Ray and leads I’m following this summer.  If you have any ideas on places to look or resources to … Continue reading Research on Ray, Summer 2019